Known side effects
Psychiatry has been hesitant in providing a full account of possible side effects from electroconvulsive therapy and so they are given here.
The following is a list of significant adverse events (side effects) from electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatment taken from the FDA Executive Summary, January 27-28, 2011 meeting of the Neurological Devices Panel. 1
adverse reaction to anesthetic agents / neuromuscular blocking agents
cognition and memory
general motor dysfunction
neurological symptoms (e.g., paresthesia, dyskinesias)
non-convulsive status epilepticus (a prolonged seizure that manifests primarily as altered mental status)
device malfunction (creating potential risks such as excessive dose administration)
adverse skin reactions (e.g., skin burns)
physical trauma (i.e., if inadequate
supportive drug treatment is provided to mitigate unconscious violent movements during convulsions) including fractures, contusions, injury from falls, dental or oral injury
tardive seizures (potentially fatal seizures that occur after the ECT treatment is finished)
onset/exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms
partial relief of depression enabling completed suicide
Known adverse side effects never researched
The FDA Executive Summary, January 27-28, 2011 meeting of the Neurological Devices Panel. Meeting to Discuss the Classification of Electroconvulsive Therapy Devices (ECT) also found significant adverse side effects had never been adequately researched by psychiatry:
- the effect of ECT on the lifespan of the patient.
- sleep disturbances including nightmares.
- visual disturbance i.e. changes in vision, visual impairment or corneal trauma (abrasion).
- auditory complications decreased acuity, hyperacuity, and tinnitus.
- urinary complaints
- substance abuse – increased use
- homicidal tendencies